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JEREMIAH'S LETTER TO THE CAPTIVES IN BABYLON.
From Chap. xxix.
Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.
(After that Jeconiah the king and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem.}
By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon saying.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the GOD of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon :
Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them.
Take ye wives, and have sons and daughters and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters: that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.
And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it for in the peace thereof shall ye have
For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel : Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the
midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye caused to have dreamed.
For they prophecy falsely unto you in my name ; I have not sent them, saith the LORD.
For thus saith the LORD, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call ye shall upon me, and and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again, into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets in Babylon; know that thus saith the LORD of the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth in this city, and of your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity; thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten.
And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach among all the nations whither I have driven them:
Because they have not hearkened to my word, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Jeremiah, having had a remarkable vision*, and other revelations, respecting the restoration of the Jews to their native land, took the opportunity of sending a letter by Zedekiah's ambassadors, in order to guard those of his nation, who were in captivity, against the delusions of false prophets, who would have deterred them from building, or doing any thing else, for their own interest and benefit: he informed them how long their captivity was to continue, and encouraged them to submit to their lot, since it was much to be preferred to that of their brethren, who were left behind in Judea.
This section affords a very instructive lesson to all persons who are in calamitous circumstances, admonishing them not to sink into despair, but to make the best of their condition, since the very dispensation which appears to them a misfortune may be in reality a blessing in disguise.
Cyaxares, king of Media, after he had reigned forty years, died; and Astyages his son (called in scripture Ahasuerus) reigned in his stead.
In the same year died also Psammis, king of Egypt, and Apries his son succeeded him. He is in scripture called Pharaoh Hophra.
* Chapter xxiv.
CONTINUATION OF THE REIGN OF ZEDEKIAH KING OF JUDAH-AND PART OF THE PROPHECY OF EZEKIEL.
From 2 Kings, Chap. xxiv.
2 Chron. Chap. xxxvi.-Ezekiel, Chap. xii. xvii.
AND Zedekiah did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet, speaking by the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by GOD to serve him, and sent ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.
And the word of the LORD came unto Ezekiel in the land of the Chaldees, saying, Say unto the people of Israel, Thus saith the LORD GOD, This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them.
Say, I am your sign; like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them; they shall remove and go into captivity.
And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes.
My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare; and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans: yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.
And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands: and I will draw out the sword after them.
And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries.
But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Ezekiel, saying, Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them · with him to Babylon;
And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land: That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand.
But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people: Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?
As I live, saith the LORD GOD; surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.、
Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons: Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape:
Therefore thus saith the LORD GOD; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head.